We knew from day one that day two would be a roller-coaster of conversations, ideas and epiphanies and it didn't disappoint. If anything, the festival felt busier and more urgent, with standing-room only in conference halls and queues spilling out of venues and crisscrossing the streets. A little wiser than 24hrs before, we stuck to a compact schedule but nevertheless got a XXXL dose of progress. So once again we've picked a digestible selection of three encounters that stood out from the rest.
This is the event's major startup showcase. Two days for 48 startups (whittled down from over 3,000) to pitch their ideas to panel of experts and a live audience. We checked out the Entertainment & Content, and Social Technologies strands and were treated to a tantalising glimpse of the technologies, organisations and leaders of tomorrow. We'll be giving a more detailed report following tomorrow's final (our money's split each way on inMobly, Zype and Polsie) but for now, a highlight was meeting lead judge Ralph Simon - CEO and Chairman and founder Mobilium Global. Ralph is widely regarded as the founder of the modern mobile entertainment industry but still has his eye very much on the future, working on a range of progressive projects from one-use needles to mobile medical care.
SXgood is a relatively new platform, having been launched last year in response to the growing number of startups focused on social and environmental innovation. Tonight was the kick-off event that brought together a range of leading light against the backdrop of performances from local bands. We spoke with Niyanta Spelman, Executive Director of the Rainforest Partnership, a passionate organisation that is dealing with an established issue in a new way - helping indigenous communities protect their land by creating sustainable, profitable businesses. It's an approach that uses the best side of capitalism to combat the worst, and has real potential to change the situation South America and the rest of the planet.
Uber isn't exactly new, but we've been making our way around Austin using its new feature, Uberpool. Launched in beta in a few US cities at the end of last year, Uberpool lets passengers share lifts and split the cost of the trip - making a speedy and inexpensive service even more so. At peak times, the 15 mile trip from our hotel to downtown Austin costs a mere $14 (9.50) and waiting times are always less than five minutes. (For the socially-minded, it's also a great way to meet people.) Uber has a longterm vision for applying the same efficiency to the entire logistics industry - putting a huge range of services on demand for a pittance. In the short term, it's easy to see how its latest innovation will further make car ownership feel like a luxury for the niche rather than a necessity for the mass. A record collection in the era of Spotify.